Cold Hearted Casanova (Cruel Castaways #3) Read Online L.J. Shen

Categories Genre: Alpha Male, Billionaire, Contemporary, Dark, New Adult Tags Authors: Series: Cruel Castaways Series by L.J. Shen

Total pages in book: 130
Estimated words: 124971 (not accurate)
Estimated Reading Time in minutes: 625(@200wpm)___ 500(@250wpm)___ 417(@300wpm)

From USA Today bestselling author L.J. Shen comes a witty romance about a woman desperate to marry into money…and her fake marriage to a (real) billionaire reluctant to commit even to a zip code.

Riggs Bates may be a billionaire, but he knows money can’t buy happiness. He keeps his financial status a secret and takes his women the same way he takes his meals—a different one three times a day. That’s until he’s caught sleeping with a married newswoman by none other than her ambitious assistant.

Daphne “Duffy” Markham wants two things in life: marry well and stay in the States. So when her almost-fiancé takes off to “find himself” and her work visa approaches expiration, Duffy resorts to the only thing she has left—blackmail. Luckily, Riggs needs an excuse to stay in New York as badly as she does, so their first meeting quickly leads to a begrudging engagement.

Armed with strict house rules and their mutual distaste for one another, Riggs and Duffy soon find there’s no denying the spark between them…or the fact that this fake marriage is starting to feel a little too real.

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Love is like a tree: it grows by itself, roots itself deeply in our being and continues to flourish over a heart in ruin. The inexplicable fact is that the blinder it is, the more tenacious it is. It is never stronger than when it is completely unreasonable.

—Victor Hugo, The Hunchback of Notre Dame

Girls just wanna have funds.




As I sat in front of Love Is Blind, crying into a sleeve of overpriced digestive biscuits, mourning my breakup with the man I thought was the love of my life, it was clear to me that my night couldn’t possibly get any worse. Maybe if I died. Even then, I’d get a much-welcome relief from my pain and anguish.

Was love blind? Quite possibly. There was no other way to excuse how I’d failed to read the writing on the wall. To be honest, it wasn’t even on a wall. It was on a bloody flashing neon billboard in Times Square, accompanied by a jingle: Duffy, you’re a fool / you are dating a tool / He’ll never ask for your hand / how daft are you not to understand?

All rights reserved, et cetera.

And, it wasn’t even a proper breakup. More like a quasi breakup. A half breakup. A don’t-expect-me-to-wait-for-you-even-though-we-both-know-that-I-will breakup. A Rachel Green, we-were-not-on-a-break breakup. You get the drill.

“Silver lining? That’s as bad as my life is going to get,” I mumbled aloud to my biscuit, which in answer crumbled onto my pajama-clad chest.

Don’t tempt me, you cow, the universe replied in the form of my mobile buzzing next to me on the couch.

“Sod off,” I muttered, before my gaze landed on the phone screen, on which Gretchen’s name flashed.

Gretchen Beatty, my boss, was the anchorwoman of The World Today, WNT’s flagship show. As her executive assistant, I was in charge of her entire life. Until six months ago, when Gretchen announced that she was taking a position as the White House press secretary and would be leaving New York for DC. Which also meant WNT was not going to renew my work visa. The worst part was, I couldn’t afford to tell my tyrannical boss just what I thought about her, even though I had only a few days left of work. She was the type of woman who would refuse to give me a reference if I so much as dared to order her grande iced americano with half-and-half instead of a dash of oat milk.

More on my woes later.

Clearing my throat, I swiped the screen. “Hello?”

“Good God, Daphne. Slacker much? It took you ten minutes to answer.”

I checked my new watch. It was eleven o’clock at night. “Is there anything I can do for you?”

I was certain there was. If making me work odd times was an Olympic sport, Gretchen would have been its Serena Williams.

“It just dawned on me that it’s Lyric’s sixth birthday tomorrow, and I was so busy with the handover to Claire, I forgot to buy my baby a gift.”

Busy with the handover, my foot. I was the one liaising with the woman who’d inherited Gretchen’s throne—investigative journalist Claire Scott—and her flock of assistants.

Since I could see where this was going from two planets away, I gave her my assurance. “I’ll buy Lyric presents first thing tomorrow morning. Do you have a budget in mind?”

Gretchen had given me her credit card two days into my employment. Ever since, I’d been in charge of running her entire life. This included getting groceries for her Manhattan flat and paying her bills. I also attended parent-teacher conferences, filled out her ballots, and wrote her op-eds for prestigious newspapers. Truly, to keep my job—and visa—I had done everything short of birthing her children myself. And only because, fortunately for me, they were already in existence.

“Tomorrow?” Gretchen slurped her drink noisily. “Time is of the essence. It has to be tonight. I’m driving up to Greenwich first thing tomorrow morning. Jason is making me attend the birthday, even though we literally have a show to shoot that same evening.” She groaned, as she did every time she spoke about her husband. “I told him I’m heading back to the city before she opens her presents. I have a business to run. Why can’t he understand that?”

Because you’re the mother of his children?

I’d only met Jason a handful of times, but I suspected he was a lot kinder than his wife. Which was something I could also say about a handful of stale nuts.

“You’d like me to go shopping for presents for a six-year-old in the middle of the night?” I asked tonelessly.

Wow, Karma. Wow. What did I do in my previous life? Skin babies for a living?

“What?” Gretchen yelled into her speaker over the loud music. “I can’t hear you, I’m at this god-awful pub. Full of peons. No one even recognized me here. Uncultured swine.”